Scientific Name(s): Diacylglycerol oil
Common Name(s): DAG oil, Enova, Healthy Econa
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jul 7, 2021.
Clinical trials have focused on the use of diacylglycerol (DAG) oil as adjunctive therapy for weight loss and body fat reduction, especially in metabolic syndrome. However, few quality, independent clinical trials have been conducted, with the majority of published clinical trials conducted by the Kao Corporation, primarily in Japanese populations.
DAG oil has been used in clinical trials as replacement for usual consumption of cooking oil, as well as at a variety of fixed daily dosages.
Contraindications have not yet been identified.
Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.
None well documented.
Clinical trials have reported few or no adverse effects.
Chronic rat toxicity studies have revealed no treatment-related effects of DAG oil consumption at levels of up to 5.5% of the diet. No evidence of gene mutation or genotoxic potential has been demonstrated in Ames mutation tests.
DAG oil was developed in Japan and launched in February 1999 by Kao Corporation as Healthy Econa cooking oil and is now widely used for cooking and salad oil in Japan. Kao Corporation has since introduced DAG in other products, such as mayonnaise, margarine, and canned tuna.Hunter 2002, Yanai 2007
In 2000, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Kao and its partner, Archer Daniels Midland Company, "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) status for their DAG oil product. In the United States, DAG oil is commercially available as Enova oil and may be used in home cooking and vegetable oil spreads.Final Report 2007
DAG oil is made from the esterification of fatty acids originating from natural edible plant oils, such as soybean and rapeseed oils.Final Report 2007, Umemura 2008, Yanai 2007 DAG oil contains only 2 fatty acids and, therefore, has metabolic characteristics distinct from those of conventional triacylglycerol (TAG) oils containing 3 fatty acids.Tada 2003 DAG oil is more hydrophilic and water soluble when synthesized enzymatically with the reverse reaction of 1,3-specific lipase.Matsuo 2001, Tada 2003, Yanai 2007 Standardized DAG oil contains 1,2-DAG and 1,3-DAG in a 3:7 ratio.Final Report 2007
The proposed mechanism of action involves the main digestive product of DAG oil, 1- (or 3-)monoacylglycerol, which is poorly re-esterified into TAG in the small intestinal mucosa.Yanai 2007
Uses and Pharmacology
The majority of published clinical trials have been conducted by the Kao Corporation, primarily among Japanese populations. The design of some of the trials also limits the strength of the findings. Issues present in some of the trials were that they were open-label and single-blind, small sample size with post-hoc subgroup analysis, and inadequate randomization as evidenced by differences in the study groups at onset of the study.
Few quality, independent clinical trials conducted in American populations are available in the literature.Reyes 2008
The majority of studies report the effect of DAG oil consumption on reducing increases in postprandial triglyceride serum levels, especially among insulin-resistant and high body mass index populations.Ai 2007, Taguchi 2000, Takase 2005, Yamamoto 2001, Yamamoto 2006, Yanai 2007 Positive changes in certain lipid components, such as remnant-like lipoprotein particle triglycerides, remnant-like lipoprotein particle cholesterol, and chylomicron triglyceride, are reported.Taguchi 2000, Yamamoto 2001 Limited data exist showing a positive effect on glucose metabolismLi 2008, Takase 2005, Yanai 2007 while some trials have shown decreases in body weight with long-term consumption.Ai 2007, Kawashima 2008, Li 2008, Yamamoto 2006, Yamamoto 2006
However, no difference was found for lipid profiles or glucose and insulin metabolism in some of the trials after 12 weeks and after 1 year of consumption of DAG oil versus TAG oil.Hunter 2002, Li 2008, Takeshita 2008, Yamamoto 2006 A meta-analysis of clinical trials through 2007 reported reduced posYamamoto 2001andial (at 2 to 6 hours) triacylglycerol concentrations with DAG oil consumption and suggested a positive correlation with dosage.Xu 2009
In a small (n = 25) crossover study among insulin-resistant participants in the United States, 5 weeks of a DAG oil–enriched diet had no effect on postprandial plasma triglycerides versus TAG oil, and fasting and postprandial glucose and insulin levels were unaffected.Reyes 2008 Some effect in reducing adiposity has been suggested.Yuan 2010
DAG oil has been used in clinical trials as replacement for usual consumption of cooking oil, as well as at a variety of fixed daily dosages ranging from 10 g per 60 kg body weight to 0.5 g/kg body weight.Ai 2007, Hibi 2008, Kawashima 2008, Li 2008, Maki 2002, Nagao 2000, Reyes 2008, Taguchi 2000, Takase 2005, Takeshita 2008, Yamamoto 2006, Yamamoto 2001, Yamamoto 2006, Yasunaga 2004
Pregnancy / Lactation
None well documented. DAG oil reportedly does not affect the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, or K.Tada 2003
1,2-DAG has the potential to activate protein kinase C, an enzyme reportedly involved in tumor promotion activity, and topical application of DAG oil in mice has been reported to increase the incidence of skin carcinomas, leading to concerns regarding the safety of the oil.Final Report 2003, Meguro 2007 However, experiments in rats have failed to demonstrate increased oral cancers, and no difference in protein kinase C activity for DAG oil compared with TAG oil was demonstrated.Final Report 2007, Meguro 2007 It is likely that rapid metabolism of DAG, which reaches the interior of the cell quickly, reverses any protein kinase C activation. Tumor-promoting phorbol esters, on the other hand, are not rapidly metabolized and, therefore, cause persistent protein kinase C activation.
Chronic rat toxicity studies have revealed no treatment-related effects of DAG oil consumption at levels of up to 5.5% of the dietChengelis 2006, Ichihara 2008, Soni 2001 (although an anomaly in the findings was noted in one experiment at a lower dosageIchihara 2008). The safety profile of heated DAG oil was found to be the same as that for unheated DAG oil in an experiment in rats.Morita 2008 No evidence of gene mutation or genotoxic potential was demonstrated in Salmonella typhimurium or Escherichia coli Ames mutation tests.Final Report 2007
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